How to navigate times when it's hard to be grateful

Here in the US, we’re less than a week away from Thanksgiving. It’s the time when we're supposed to be thankful for all "our blessings." 

For people who have been to hell and back this year, for those who’ve lost a loved one, for those who have had their hearts ripped out and stomped on, it can be an insensitive thing to hear the words...what are you grateful for? 

Feeling like you have nothing to be grateful for

If you're someone who's had a gut-wrenching year, I can imagine that you’re thinking...I don’t have anything to be grateful for. 

There's been too much heartbreak this year...the unexpected loss of a loved one, the breakup of a marriage, the dramatic ending of a relationship that you didn’t agree to, the exasperation of working a job where the risk is high for covid and with minimal appreciation,  the devastating loss of your house to a fire, and on and on. 

It can just be too much for our psyche and our...

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Resiliency and Gratitude: Two people who know how to be mentally tough

What would you do to get back home?

This is Part 2 of the story about two people in my family who were caught off guard away from their homes in March by the pandemic.

Their story is one that will inspire you. If you didn’t have a chance, you’ll want to read Part 1 of the piece I wrote about how they got stranded. You can read it here

 Bev

She waited and waited for months for a possible opening to fly to Vanuatu, her new home.

The borders to this tiny country with no covid have been closed since March.

In September, a repatriation flight from Auckland opened up.

It took a boatload of emails and phone calls to the Vanuatu government and the New Zealand government in order to coordinate the tricky business of getting Bev on that flight. Stephanie, Bev's daughter, worked hours and hours to get clearance for Bev to fly.

There were so many on and then off again moments...for weeks until they knew that Bev was approved for the flight. 

It took 70 hours...

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Part 2: How not to panic when you’re stuck in lockdown in a foreign country

If you missed Part 1 of our adventures, you can read it here.

Back in Auckland and the country moves into lockdown

On Tuesday 24 March we landed in Auckland from Christchurch, a bit harried and very grateful. But our flight back to San Francisco wasn't for another five days, and New Zealand was preparing for total lockdown.

It was an hour by hour world we were in and no one seemed to know what would happen next.

Would planes fly? The response from everyone we spoke to was that no planes would fly in or out once the country was in lockdown, within the next 48 hours.   

We decided to go directly to the Air New Zealand counter and see if we could change our reservations to an earlier flight - maybe we could even get a flight out that night. (As stressed as we had been, it didn’t deter Thom from taking pictures.)

We had another surprise as we approached the international terminal. There was a long line at the...

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Stayin' Alive on the 4th of July

As we celebrate another of our nation’s birthday this Independence Day, I am reminded of a July 4th post I wrote back in 2011 when my son, Rob, was deployed to Afghanistan. Rob is home now, but re-reading the post today brings all those feelings back to me. It also makes me feel a deep gratitude that he returned with his body, and his psyche, intact. I will forever feel grateful for that.

I still feel connected to those who served in that faraway country.  I am privileged to have worked as a counselor with Marines, Soldiers, Airmen, and Sailors who were deployed and returned from Afghanistan and Iraq. Their stories are chilling, young men who know the horrors of war and are still trying to make sense of it all.

As we celebrate this 4th of July

 I hope that all of us remember our service members & their families.

The ones who are still deployed, still in danger, the ones who are struggling, and the many who are wounded warriors.

Think for a moment about the ones...

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Women's Special Fall Online Weekend Retreat

Friday 25 September - Sunday 27 September

Fall is a time for us to slow down, to ground ourselves and to nourish our bodies. This retreat is designed to help you stop and listen to what it is you need right now. It's a fun and restorative weekend with mindfulness exercises, morning yoga, an online cooking class with the fabulous Chef Bai, healthy recipes to try at home, meditations and group calls to connect you with other women.